“When faced with the indefensible, the best thing to do is stop defending it.” (Toronto Star editorial, 26 July 2020)
On July 22, 2020 the Federal Court ruled that sending refugee claimants back to the USA under the Safe Third Country Agreement violates their right to liberty and security protected by section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court therefore determined that the Canadian legislation designating the US as a safe third country is of no force or effect. However, the Court ordered that its decision will only take effect after six months, in other words on January 22, 2021. But we cannot countenance six more months of human rights violations.
On 21 August, the government announced that they are appealing the decision. However, it is possible for them to withdraw the appeal.
Join us in asking the Government of Canada to:
- Immediately stop sending refugee claimants back to the United States and suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement.
- Accept the Court’s judgment and withdraw the appeal.
This is a crucial decision and it involves several different Ministers. It is important, therefore that the Prime Minister show leadership and do the right thing.
Contact Prime Minister Trudeau and your Member of Parliament with the two urgent requests outlined above.
You can also send a message through Amnesty International's website.
Read more about the Court’s decision and why sending refugee claimants back to the US is a violation of their fundamental rights: ccrweb.ca/en/government-must-stop-sending-refugee-claimants-back-US
Here is the reaction to the decision from one woman who was imprisoned in the US after being sent back from Canada under the Safe Third Country Agreement:
I was really pleased to read the news that the judge put into words the things I experienced – the lack of humanity that I myself endured on being returned to the US. When I think about it, I relive the nightmare of being interrogated in English (a language I didn’t speak fluently at the time), having to answer, without access to a lawyer, questions I didn’t really understand, which later played against me. My only crime was trying to seek asylum in Canada. I was put into detention for having tried to find refuge, which is supposed to be a human right. I spent 10 days in solitary confinement and endured extremely severe conditions in detention.
Stopping returning people to the US would mean preventing other people from enduring a nightmare like mine. (“Morgan”. Read more about her experiences at ccrweb.ca/en/why-US-not-safe-challenging-STCA#morgan)